Announcing the third batch of 15 companies selected for @InTech50 2016

Last week, we announced the second batch of winners of InTech50 2016. It’s been a hectic month for all the stakeholders.

Happy to announce the third and final batch of 15 companies that are selected for InTech50 2016:

  1. Aujas: Security Analytics and Visualization Platform
  1. Canvazify: Canvazify is a visual collaboration tool for team brainstorming and planning. Its a pinterest of team ideas. Canvazify helps you organize and discuss ideas, derive meaningful insights and plan activities
  1. FarEye: FarEye, is a Mobile Workforce Management Platform. It is a customizable Enterprise Mobility Platform., that automates processes and field workforce thus., helping the enterprises in delighting their customers
  1. Germinait Solutions Private Limited: Germin8 Social Intelligence is a product suite that enables brands to get valuable insights from consumers in social media about the products, campaigns, content and customer service.
  1. Happay (VA Tech Ventures): Happay is a first of its kind, VISA card driven, expense management solution that streamlines a company’s expense workflow from purchase-to-accounting and enables real-time visibility and control over business spending.
  1. Indix Internet India Private Limited: Indix offers a variety of products including a Product API, Reports App, and machine learning services using proprietary data science algorithms. Leading brands and retailers use Indix products to boost productivity, drive innovation, and accelerate growth.
  1. Innotion Technologies Pvt Ltd: Protean is a Business Process Management & Field Service Management Platform, which helps the organizations in automating the backend Processes & Field activities.
  1. Lucep: Lucep is a sales acceleration solution for B2B businesses. Using a website widget and our mobile app, Lucep connects leads generated from your site directly with your team in under 60 seconds.
  1. NavStik Autonomous Systems Pvt. Ltd: FlytPOD is the next-generation flight-computer for commercial drones. FlytOS is its operating system that empowers developers build variety of commercial applications for drones. Together they offer a platform for drone-makers to build next-gen drone applications.
  1. Nowfloats: The NowFloats platform helps large enterprises by getting their local channel online in a relevant, meaningful, frictionless manner. Think how to get all of your retail stores, your insurance agents, your branches, etc all being highly discovered by local consumers via latest, frequently updated content by your extended teams.
  1. Propalms Technologies Pvt Ltd: Propalms TSE: Delivers Microsoft Windows client applications from datacenter over browser to users using presentation virtualization technology.
  1. SayPay Technologies: SayPay Authenticator combines voice recognition and speech recognition seamlessly into one single step. By simply speaking the SayPay “crypto-token” into their mobile banking app, users identify the transaction, authenticate themselves, and lock their biometric signature to each authentication.
  1. Tydy: Tydy is an Automated Employee Onboarding & Engagement Platform. Tydy combines automated workflows, pre-defined content modules and engagement hooks resulting in a personalized & amazing onboarding experience.
  1. Vidooly: Vidooly is an SaaS based video analytics and marketing suite that provides actionable insights to content creators, MCNs and brands enabling them to optimize their videos on YouTube and increase the organic reach, build an audience base and take data driven decisions to create content.
  1. Xtreme Media Pvt. Ltd: XM DSS is a Cloud based digital signage solution, it enables brands to centrally control & manage digital screens located anywhere in the world on a single click.

Congratulations again to all the above winners !!

You can see the first batch of winners here.

We will keep you updated on all the action, during and after the event. Keep watching this space.

Guest Post by Arvind Kochar, Terrene Global Leadership Network

India B2B Software Products Industry Clocks Solid Growth from 2014 to 2015

India’s B2B software product industry has grown nicely since we published the first edition of this index in November 2014 – the top 30 companies are valued at $10.25 billion (₹65,500 crores) and employ over 21,000 people.  The index has grown 20% in USD terms and 28% in INR terms from October 30, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

There has been an acceleration since 2010 in the pace of creation of B2B companies.  Vertically-focused offerings in retail, travel, financial services, media have reached scale and we are likely to see some larger exits in terms of IPOs or M&A over the next couple of years. In parallel, we are seeing horizontal offerings targeting global markets emerge and start to breakout of India into the US and other global markets – we are starting to see not only India-based venture funds backing these companies but also Silicon Valley funds coming in once there is initial customer adoption in the US.

A new set of founders are coming into the B2B software products ecosystem. These include an increasing proportion who have worked at consumer and B2B startups that have scaled in India and who have identified problems that they can solve with software automation.  We are also seeing continued venture creation from founding teams that have backgrounds from established enterprise software companies and some from IT services companies.

In terms of target markets, fast-growth Indian companies (in sectors such as organized retail, organized healthcare services and technology startups in product commerce and services commerce i.e. online-to-offline) are starting to purchase software from Indian B2B software product startups and have globally-aligned requirements, helping these startups get closer to product-market fit before or in parallel to starting to sell globally. We are also seeing many startups go global from day-one through a desk-selling model, as evidenced by many of the companies in the index. And finally, several startups have moved founders to the US and are succeeding in direct selling models there.

Some of the numbers: 80% of companies have global customer bases, while the rest are India-focused.  67% of companies are domiciled in India, with the rest principally in Singapore and the US.  Bangalore and NCR account for half the companies’ principal city of operations with Chennai and Pune as key secondary hubs – there is a trend to newer companies starting up in Bangalore, Chennai and Pune and away from NCR.  Average enterprise value per employee is climbing toward Silicon Valley levels – the index currently nets out to $480k per employee.

The top 30 companies in alphabetical order are:

Here’s the report in its entirety:

Thanks to all the volunteers at iSPIRT who worked on this project as well as Professor Sharique Hasan of Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University; Professor Rishi Krishnan of IIM-Indore; as well as Signal Hill for providing public market valuation comparables and Rakesh Mondal  for designing the document..

We will publish an updated iSPIxB2B index every year starting with the next one in June 2016 – please do click here to submit names of companies you think should make this list.

Announcing the first batch of 10 companies shortlisted for @InTech50

InTech50 is a flagship event of iSPIRT & Terenne Global. It is a showcase of some of the most promising software products created by entrepreneurs from India.

The top 50 companies that will make it to InTech50 are selected by an eminent panel comprising of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) of marquee companies, VCs, and senior executives from Product companies.

These chosen 50 companies will receive advice, on-going mentoring, product marketing support, and funding to scale their offering to the global markets.

We received over 228 applications (As expected, we had a slew of applications that came in on the last day). Thanks to the efforts of our core team and jury members we have now closed the first leg of InTech50 2015 selection process.

Our eminent jury had a wonderful, but tough time in shortlisting from among the applicants the top 100 that will make it to the next round. According to a jury member – “We were thrilled with the quality of applications we saw. It was an exhilarating experience to see so many good ideas that are tryignt o shape the world for a smarter future.”

The criteria for the first phase of shortlisting were as follows:

  • Products that were already operating in the market were preferred to those at a concept / POC stage
  • Products that addressed horizontal opportunities were preferred over those that focused very deep on a vertical
  • Products that were easy to implement & use were preferred over products that needed deeper integration with enterprise systems (like ERP)
  • Solutions that could be an “add-on”/”bolt-on” to the existing eco-system

Here are the ten shortlist of our first batch(in alphabetical order)

  • Germin8′ Social Intelligence stakeholder insights and engagement platform that collects and analyses conversations in real time from public sources and private sources, and converts them into industry-specific actionable insights and leads.
  • Framebench is the easiest way to view, annotate, discuss and collaborate over any file online. Be it an presentation, a high res image or even a video.
  • Freshdesk is a full-fledged cloud based support software that lets businesses support their customers across email, phone, chat and social media.
  • Indix App and Indix API – They collect, organize, structure and analyze a huge amount of product and product related info so that businesses can use their apps and APIs to improve product search, optimize offers, better target product ads, enrich their catalog and do ad hoc analysis.
  • Qubole Data Service is a self-service platform for big data analytics that runs on the three major public clouds: Amazon AWS, Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure. QDS provides platorms like Hadoop, Hive. Spark and Presto as a service along with programming interfaces like SQL, Pig, Cascading, Scala and Python – all through an intuitive user interface that encourages collaboration.
  • Sapience is a patent pending software product that catalyzes a Mindful Enterprise. By combining self-quantification at work for individuals and enterprise effort analytics, Sapience enables data driven decision-making in empowering employees and management towards productivity and wellness.
  • Seclore FileSecure helps enterprise define, control and audit the use of information as it flows within and outside of the enterprise. It allows enterprises to embed security, privacy and compliance policies within information itself.
  • Talview Video Interview platform is reinventing the way screening and selection happens in the industry. They are the second largest player globally in video-mobile recruitment tools augmented with talent engagement and state of the art Hiring Analytic Technology.
  • ToneTag is a patent pending proximity tech that allows easy, frictionless and secure proximity payments using sound (Tone) or NFC (Tag). Depending upon user device and retail pos hardware, mobile application can toggle to initiate in-store purchases using sound or NFC. It works on any mobile device and no internet is required on user device at time of initiating payment.
  • Tydy – The documents we use today were built for the desktop world. Microsoft Office was launched in 1990 and not much has changed since then! PDF, PPT, XLS and others were not built for mobile consumption. Tydy is a new mobile document format. The Tydy doc harnesses the interactivity & sensors of mobile devices to create a completely new document consumption experience.”

According to Piyush Singh, co-host, InTech50, “The shortlisting process was an intellectually stimulating exercise. Am happy to see the escalation in not just the number of applications from last year, but also the quality. Jury members unanimously concurred that the software product eco-system seems to be evolving very well”

We are delighted that InTech50 has emerged as a platform that connects high-potential products to CIOs, investors, Executives from product companies and other stakeholders of the co-system from across the globe. That individuals and organizations from across the world consider InTech50 as the annual event that showcases a well curated and end-user driven platform for “Innovation for a Smarter Future” is encouraging. iSPIRT is committed to work with each of the selected companies to make a difference in their entrepreneurial journey, with support/advise/mentoring/guidance and giving their ventures a thrust as they scale up.

Do follow this space, as we will soon announce the next batch of 10 InTech50 companies. 

This Fourth Wave of Indian Enterprise Software Startups is World-Class

India’s enterprise software industry has been slowly bubbling since the 1980s but has generally failed to deliver a large number of high impact, high value companies.  We do have some companies that everybody talks about – iFlex, Tally, Zoho – but these are far and few between. I believe that we are seeing a new scalable wave of enterprise software companies coming out of India and there is a potential to deliver several high impact companies over the next decade.  Here at Lightspeed Venture Partners, leveraging our global strength in enterprise technologies, we see opportunities to partner with companies that are cloud-native and have cracked a global market – examples of current active categories in India are CRM, analytics/big data, marketing automation and infrastructure.

India’s enterprise software industry has to be looked at separately from the outsourcing/BPO firms like Genpact, Cognizant, Tata Consulting Services and Infosys.  Starting in the 1980s and early 1990s, this services industry is now mature and at scale.

Separate from the outsourcing/BPO industry, India’s enterprise software industry (or “products” as it is called by many here in India) has evolved from the 1980s to now in what I think can be divided into four waves, coinciding somewhat with three trends: 1) enterprise software moving from desktop to client-server to cloud; 2) evolution of Indian industry post 1991 liberalization; and 3) increased experience of Indians at successful US product companies.




The first wave of software products came along in the late 1980s/early 1990s – the focus was desktop products for business accounting.  Companies in this wave include Tally Solutions (still the undisputed leader in SME accounting software in India), Instaplan, Muneemji and Easy Accounting.


Infosys-finacle ramco  5I-flex_Solutions_logo.svg G  _institute_Newgen Logo

This generation of software products emerged in the 1990s as projects within outsourcing firms or from internal services arms of larger corporates. Infosys launched Finacle. Ramco Systems launched its ERP. And Citibank launched CITIL which became i-Flex.  Other notable companies included 3i InfotechCranes Software, Kale Consultants, Newgen SoftwarePolaris Financial Technologies,Srishti Software and Subex.

I remember attending CEBIT in Hanover in 1989 when many of these Indian software and consulting companies were first introduced to Europe.

The late 1990s saw a wavelet of ASP (application service provider) startups in India, most of which got crushed after the dotcom bust.


eka-nexus-funding-147zycus-logo Manthan-Systems-Logo talisma logo

The 2000s saw on-premise India-first companies such as Drishti-SoftEka SoftwareEmploywiseiCreate SoftwareiVizManthan SystemsQuick Heal TechnologiesTalisma (for which I did some initial product management work while at Aditi Technologies) and Zycus get started.  This was the era of 8-10% GDP growth in India which lasted till about 2010.  Many of these companies had a direct sales model. After India, they generally expanded into the global South (Africa, Middle East, SE Asia, Latin America) where they found similar customer requirements and little competition from Western software companies.  Bootstrapped in their earlier years, some of these companies grew over several years and have broken through to $25 million+ in annual revenue.  Key verticals have traditionally been BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), telecom, retail/FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods aka CPG in the US) and outsourcing/BPO.

Having been around for over a decade, some of these companies generally face the challenge of migrating to the cloud, upgrading user experience to modern Web 2.0 levels, and expanding addressable markets beyond the global South to the US and Europe.  We have seen some of these companies get venture funded, typically at much later stages in their go-to-market relative to US-based software companies.  Several of these companies have received funding in the past couple of years, ostensibly to “go international” and “go cloud,” not an easy task, especially when done together.


Starting in around 2010, a new wave of cloud-native companies were launched, perhaps following the slowdown in India’s economy and the growth/acceptance of SaaS as a delivery model and as a sales model in the US.  These companies have grown and now could power beyond the $10M/year revenue glass ceiling.  The reason for the scale potential being higher for this cloud-native wave is the cracking of efficient online sales channels to reach markets globally.

Why this decade? Because there is an increased willingness of companies around the world to search for and buy software products online.  There is now a large pool of founders who have worked at global enterprise product companies (e.g. Indian offshore development centers or in Silicon Valley itself with companies like SAP, Oracle, Google, Microsoft, Adobe) and have experience in product management, marketing and sales.  And finally, there has been a dramatic reduction in the capital required to bootstrap enterprise software companies.  Everybody uses AWS and software from other startups to get started. It’s quite meta.

Wave 4 companies have the opportunity to break through the barriers that previously relegated Indian enterprise software companies to selling to the global South. We have seen Atlassian (Australia), Zendesk (Denmark) and Outbrain (Israel) do this move to Western or global markets.  Zoho is an Indian company that is rumored to be at $100 million per year revenue scale – they have been part of many of the waves I have described.

This cloud-native wave, I believe, can be divided into two dimensions. One dimension is the platform/tools companies versus workflow automation (applications) companies. The other dimension is India-first companies versus the global-first companies.  We see opportunities in all four quadrants, each having its own challenges.  We are interested in looking at companies in all these segments, with a bias toward companies which have reached some scale ($1M ARR) and are going after large addressable markets with aggressive sales & marketing execution.

Fourth Wave

 [Please note this is not a comprehensive list of companies nor a view on which companies we admire or not]

Global-first companies coming out of India have started to crack or have cracked the online sales model, using SEO, SEM, content marketing and telesales.  They are typically going after mature segments where buyers are typing keywords into Google at a high rate. This online selling model results in an SMB and mid-market customer base.  In many cases, founders may have to move to the US to enterprise sales.  It’s worth noting that scale markets are not necessarily all in the US – companies could get built with a general global diffusion of customers, perhaps with help from resellers.

I see India-first companies typically going after newer high-growth companies in India (e.g. ecommerce, retail) and startups.  Some go after Indian arms of multinationals (MNCs).  This is a reasonable early adopter market to cut a product’s teeth on, but has limited ability to scale.  Of the newer crop of India-first companies, very few go after large enterprises in India – there are exceptions like Peelworks and Wooqer.  The model here generally is SaaS as a delivery model but not SaaS as a sales model (ie direct sales, not self-service).  Many software companies are essentially verticalized.

We continue to see a few high-ticket, high touch direct sales enterprise software companies which are global-first, including companies like CloudbyteDruva,IndixSirion Labs and Vaultize. Many of these start out with teams in both Silicon Valley and India or transplant themselves to the Valley over time.  I think this will continue to happen but we will not see the explosion here that we are seeing in the number of companies utilizing low touch online sales models.  I see several high-impact companies coming out of these direct sales enterprise software startups as well.

I think this dichotomy between India-first and global-first companies is interesting and makes India a distinctly different type of investment geography, different from Israel (which has very small domestic market where tech companies move to the US very quickly), different from China (which mostly has domestic market focused startups and very little enterprise software) and different from the US (which is primarily domestic-focused in $500B enterprise tech industry in the early years of most startups). In terms of investor and founder interest, the pendulum may also swing back and forth between these two models as the Indian economy grows, sometimes at high speed, sometimes at a snails pace.

[With input from the team at iSPIRT and several of the companies mentioned above].

Reblogged from YourStory & LightSpeed Venture Partners blog.

Indix: Building the world’s product information repository

Indix is a SaaS + Big Data product intelligence platform that allows businesses to organize, analyze, visualize and act on the world’s product information in real-time. Indix uses big data analytics and visualization to deliver actionable insights. Indix also offers APIs for developers to build product rich applications. It was founded by former Microsoft VP, Sanjay Parthasarathy, who previously led billion dollar divisions at Microsoft. Other co-founders include Sridhar Venkatesh, Rajesh Muppalla, Satya Kaliki and Jonah Stephen Jeremiah. Indix is backed by prominent angel investors as well as Avalon Ventures and Nexus Ventures. 


Indix is a platform that intends to be the single complete repository of information about the world’s products that are currently spread all over the Internet.

Consider this scenario: if you are responsible for analyzing price trends of a brand that you manage (say a fast-selling mobile phone) to ensure the market is healthy, you will do one of these two things:

  • Search for the product, filter the results that indicate price, and go through the pages, doing this every few days (or hours)
  • Identify a few top sites that sell the item and monitor prices on these site, every few days (or hours)

As you can imagine, this can be a very time consuming and inaccurate exercise, and may not leave you with enough time to act on the information you gain, (e.g. Why is Flipkart dropping its price every few days while Tradus does not?).

Using the Indix App for retailers and brands, that is built on top of the Indix product intelligence platform, you can get all these numbers from across the Internet at your fingertips, and get access to insights like price drops, new sellers, etc. This allows you to consume this real-time data and get on to your real job: analyzing price trends across various slices and dices of data.



It is very important to be clear on one point, a point which Sanjay (founder and CEO) emphasized in our interview: Indix is building a platform that provides access to the world’s product information, with all product attributes, in a structured form; the possible ways of using this data are limitless. This Indix App for retailers and brands is just one of the possible uses. A developer ecosystem around the Indix platform will create extremely innovative applications on this platform soon.

The Company

The company was founded to address three problems:

  1. Offer a good view of the products out there to product managers by providing a comprehensive and structured product repository. Today, searching for products using existing search engines yields unstructured and error-prone results, whereas Indix intends to offer structured information about products of the world to everyone.
  2. Today, product managers spend most of their time collecting data. Indix aims to reduce this time to next to nothing. This will allow product managers to do the work that is valued most – analyze data and generate insights for their business.
  3. Enable product awareness of applications, to the point of letting users complete the purchase cycle everywhere a product is mentioned. For example, on whichever page a product is mentioned (say a blog that refers to the recent ad of a deodorant), there can be automatic workflow created by an app (which uses the Indix platform to access details of the product) so that the reader can interact with the product information, get more details and insights, and buy the product from a merchant he likes.

Indix is headquartered in Seattle and has a total team size of 42, with six people based in the Seattle office focused on business development and marketing, and 36 people based in the Chennai office focused on the product development.

It is a startup with a deep engineering focus and great culture.  Here are a few things they do to foster a good workspace environment:

  1. They have an internal app that assigns every engineer a Super Hero status and tracks their attendance at their daily standup.
  2. They have treasure hunts / bounty hunts that involve the engineering teams taking on coding challenges.
  3. They have a monitor that screams when a build breaks and in the future, it will have a missile launcher, which will send a missile in the direction of the engineer who broke the build!

The Indix Platform

Indix is a SaaS + Big Data product intelligence platform that gathers product data from Internet, processes it, and makes it available in a structured form. Comparing two products listed on two different websites and figuring out whether these are the same products or not is a very hard problem, and Indix does a great job in product comparison by doing deeper searches and using multiple attributes to compare. They have a few hundred million products (along with rich attributes) collected so far and their target is to have a billion products on their platform.

The platform offers access to developers for its data who are then able to build various applications on top of this valuable stream of data. While price is the most important attribute of a product, there are many other attributes which can be interesting to app developers and their users.

Currently, Indix offers two products:

  1. Indix App for brands and retailers for better and faster market and product analysis.
  2. Developer API set to access their platform data and build rich applications.

Indix app is priced per user per month, and Developer API access is per company per month.

Indix App

Indix app allows brand managers to explore unlimited product, competitors, and categories; monitor various channels through which the product is being sold; and gain insights on pricing, assortment, and Minimum Advertised Price (MAP), etc.

The way it works is as follows:

  1. The brand manager logs into the app and selects a few products and categories that (s)he is interested in tracking.
  2. The brand manager can also select one or more competitors to track.
  3. Once these are set up, the brand manager can view the dashboard to analyze trends on assortment, prices, promotions, availability, competition, and social news, etc. within selected categories of the products.
  4. Insights can be obtained through the analysis center. These could be analyses done by the brand manager as well as pre-defined insights thrown in by the app (see screenshots below)





Developer API

indix-developerSince Indix is primarily a platform, its value will be best leveraged when outside developers use the data to build rich applications for users and businesses. Developers get access to the large repository of product information, which is easily accessible via RESTFul API that the Indix platform exposes.



Here are a few USPs of Indix that are worth noting:

  • Intuitive and visual interface – The Indix app is very user-friendly and designed to be intuitive, with customer use-cases in mind. It provides insights on pricing, assortment, markdown, availability, categories, and competition in real-time in a highly visual fashion; making it easier and faster for product managers to make data-driven decisions.
  • Scale – They have tens of millions products and billions of price points and other product related information. There is no limit on the number of categories, prices, or competitor’s products you can track.
  • Data quality – Their data is highly robust and accurate, thanks to their deep expertise in big data and analytics. They continue to improve their matching algorithm to do deeper comparisons (compare multiple attributes before declaring products the same).
  • Customer Service  – They have integrated help and feedback systems within their product and are very focused on providing an outstanding customer support service. If their testimonials are anything to go by, they have many happy customers.

Market and Roadmap

This is a big market that Indix is operating in. Currently, their product is targeted at pricing analysts, brand managers, category/merchandising managers, and others involved with product information at brands and retailers, broadly referred to as product managers. There are millions of product managers in the US alone.

This is a hard problem to solve, and there aren’t many companies building product intelligence platform at this scale. Some companies have worked in category-specific or attribute-specific (like price) product data space, but not in a category-agnostic way Indix is doing it – Black Locus (acquired by Home Depot), (acquired by eBay), and Kosmix (acquired by Wal-Mart). So this is an interesting space for them to be in.

Over the next 6-12 months, their priority is to sign-up additional customers, incorporate their feedback, invest in marketing, and achieve an even bigger scale for product data in their platform. There are more than 1 billion products and services on the Internet. Today, the Indix platform has tens of millions of products, billions of price points, and other product related information, and they continue to add new products. They mentioned that the next 6-12 months are crucial towards realizing their vision of organizing, analyzing, and visualizing the world’s product information and making it accessible and actionable in real time.

They also continue to work on refining and improving their API set based on feedback. 

The Road Ahead

As Sanjay writes in their launch post,

“In the future, all applications will be product-aware, just as applications today are people and location aware. The same way Facebook connects you with people and Foursquare connects you with places, Indix can help connect you with products.”

It is a very powerful vision that Indix is running with. They are enabling this by

“..[doing] the hard work of finding, understanding, categorizing, normalizing, matching and, in general, structuring the vast amount of product-related information on the Internet. Our ultimate goal is to provide a view of the Internet through the product lens”.

This is a tough and inspiring challenge for the company, to organize the world’s product information. However, the impact this can have is equally inspiring and this is what is driving the company forward.

Sanjay ran billion dollar businesses at Microsoft, and this one surely is headed in that direction.

Sanjay’s Advice to Startups

  1. To get a billion dollar idea, you need to work on very hard, almost impossible problems. What we are working on at Indix is very hard, and it is inspiring.
  1. Build a strong culture and pour your soul into it. Everyone has a personality, whether writing code, doing design, managing HR – their work should reflect their personality.
  2. Hire great people whom you can trust.
  3. Create a healthy balance between what you think is right (vision and mission) and what customers want; don’t go overboard on one side or the other. We talked to 100 people (not only customers) before we built a line of code, to learn from them. Started coding in Jan 2012, did 7 versions, threw away the first 6. We built for about 6 months (3-4 prototypes), and only then started talking to customers, as guidelines and not as requirements. Only when the product was fleshed out in some detail (alpha release) did we start looking at what customers wanted, and after beta, started taking feature requests.
  4. I don’t believe in Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – critical mass of product is more important, at least in the enterprise space. I had the luxury to do so since I had funding, but it is an important point to think about.
  5. If you build for the US, one of the cofounders must have had significant experience living in the US, or one of the co-founders should move.

Sanjay Parthasarathy’s Mantra for Product Entrepreneurs: “If You Can’t Think Big, You Can’t Really Scale”

Even top-notch corporate executives get bored with their work and that’s what happened to Sanjay Parthasarathy. Maybe in such cases the corporation is no longer seductive enough to feed the creativity or a stray thought emerges to create something on one’s own instead of creating newbies at corporations. Sanjay spent a little more than two decades at Microsoft, at the forefront of many new initiatives including the Startup Accelerator Program, which he headed, before he exited to become a startup entrepreneur and investor. The geeky executive headed home after a long stint in the US, to Chennai and started Indix, which is into data analytics and products that impact people’s lives. It would be of relevance to indicate that Sanjay directed Bill Gates’s first visit to India in 1997 and that led to a spurt in Microsoft’s India activities and also had high and positive impact on the software industry in India. Besides being an entrepreneur at Indix, he also plays angel investor and mentors startups in the US and in India. In conversation with YourStory, Sanjay spelt out his philosophy and his point of view.

You were in the US for 23 years; you graduated from MIT, worked at Microsoft for 19 years, what triggered you to come back to India?

I think I was a little bored, and the opportunity here was quite ripe, so it is really a combination of these two things.

If you have to look back at your corporate journey heading various divisions at Microsoft, what were some of your biggest take-aways?

Probably, creating things from scratch. I was with the Internet Explorer, then with .Net, and I helped set up the startup business accelerator. So, I always started things from scratch at Microsoft, so that was the biggest learning to do the startup kind of thing.

Starting stuff in bigger organizations vs. starting up as nobody, what are the differences?

Philosophically, they are the same things. You still have to argue for money, though the funding comes from the company in one case, you still have to put your idea out in the market, you still have to recruit a team, as they don’t give all of that to you, you have to take it. In a way, you have to do the same things.

Read the complete Interview by Raghu Mohan for